Adashino-Nenbutsu-ji temple in Sagano, Kyoto

The highlight of this temple is the view of thousands of stone Buddhist images and stone pagodas that are crammed into the temple ground. Those images and pagodas used to be tomb stones and the fact makes the character of the Jodo-shu sect temple quite unique and somewhat uncanny.


The history of this temple is not very clear but following is what I gather so far.

In ancient times, they disposed of dead bodies by exposing them to the elements (aerial sepulcher) here in Adashino. Then the area changed to be a burying ground and they placed stone Buddhist images or stone pagodas as tomb stones.

About 1200 years ago, Kobo-daishi (Kukai, 774-835) established a Shingon-shu sect temple called Kochizan-Nyorai-ji in Adashino to pray for those unknown souls. Years later, Honen (1133-1212) opened a dojo in the same place for intoning Nenbutsu, or Buddha-invocations. The dojo was called Nenbutsu-ji.

Late 19th century, they gathered tomb stones that were scattered around, and crammed them into the temple ground.

How to get to Adashino-Nenbutsu-ji

  • 51 minutes from Kyoto station to Toriimoto by Kyoto Bus No. 72 bound for Kiyotaki, then 5 minutes on foot..

Hours and Admission

March-November: 9:00-16:30

December-February: 9:00-15:30

All except following: 500 yen
Junior high school students (7th-9th graders) and high school students: 400 yen
Elementary schoolchildren (must be accompanied by parent(s)) and younger: free.

Photos / Pictures

Click on a photo for a larger image.

The belfry and stone Buddhist images and stone pagodas.
November 24, 2002
Another view of stone Buddhist images and stone pagodas.
November 24, 2002
Stone Buddhist images and stone pagodas in summer.
June 16, 2007
Thousands of stone Buddhist images and stone pagodas.
November 24, 2002
The belfry.
November 24, 2002
Bamboo and autumn leaves.
November 24, 2002
A flight of stone steps in a bamboo grove.
November 24, 2002
Jizo Buddhist images on the higher ground of Adashino-Nenbutsu-ji.
November 24, 2002
A souvenir shop
having saplings on its roof.
November 24, 2002